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Maarit Paananen: Problem-solver and coach to the max

Maarit, Head of Data at Tietoevry Create, has always been a problem-solver, who cares about customers and employees.

Maarit Paananen / February 20, 2023

“Best job I ever had. Nothing gets you working at your best than having 10 angry truck drivers waiting for systems to work.”

This citation is from Maarit Paananen’s LinkedIn profile. It nicely grabs her attitude towards work – solving problems rapidly so that others can do their work.

Maarit, the current Head of Data at Tietoevry Create, worked as a logistics coordinator at a global distribution center at Nokia Networks in 2000. She was responsible for inbound and outbound deliveries of base stations.

“If there was a problem with our ERP or reporting system, I had to tackle it quickly so that the trucks would leave in time. Otherwise, there would have been a delay of up to 24 hours causing extra costs for the company. I learned the meaning of the quality of data, how to negotiate and handle stress and time,” highlights Maarit in one of her many stories.

Long gone are the days of internal checks at the country borders in Europe before Schengen.

The job connected Maarit with Tietoevry, the partner in IT systems. At that time, the company was called TietoEnator as Finnish Tieto merged with Swedish Enator.

Tietoevry had noted that the number of tickets had diminished thanks to Maarit’s efforts. She had also started to make some fixes to the systems herself. Then, Tietoevry offered the problem-solver a consulting job in Finland.

“What does the customer need?”

Maarit has stayed with Tietoevry for over 20 years, but her role has changed frequently. She has always been internally headhunted for a new position. Maarit has, for instance, worked as a Consultant, Service Manager, and Head of Business Intelligence & Analytics before becoming the Head of Data at Tietoevry Create. It is the leading digital accelerator for innovation and sustainable value creation. The practice combines business design with software engineering to bring digital business to life.

Whatever Maarit has done she has always boosted growth and worked with data. Once Maarit was the only consultant working for a customer, but soon the team consisted of seven people. She brought out new service suggestions to the customer.

“This is our way to do business also these days. The consultant starts to work on the assignment, builds trust by achieving results, and figures out new things to be developed. It culminates in helping the customer in the best way with data management models, modernization of data and analytics landscapes, enterprise performance management, integrations, or other things,” says Maarit.

She adds that customers can have small teams and thus need external consultants, “creators”, to advise on data issues and run development projects. It means new learning opportunities.

Nurturing talent

But what does boosting growth mean to Maarit these days? The list includes customer cooperation, pre-sales, recruiting talent, and supporting employees. In the data world, Maarit is known as a leader, who hires also junior IT professionals and coaches them.

“I am glad that many have reached management positions over the years,” says Maarit. One can sense that she is proud of them.

Maarit believes that her key job is to show direction and support people. When an employee wants to talk, she is available with quick notice.

“I am there to listen to my employees and ask questions to get forward. People must feel that they are not left alone.”

On the other hand, she expects open interaction from her employees.

“We also celebrate small successes and certifications daily in our chat. It is also great to meet people face-to-face,” says Maarit.

Creators work a lot remotely, but also have a chance to go to the office in many cities. During the interview week, Maarit visited the Tietoevry offices in Espoo, Joensuu, Kuopio, and Tampere.

The final question

One final question remains – how can a candidate get to work in Maarit’s team and at Tietoevry Create? Does one have to have a degree in IT like Maarit herself? She herself is a Bachelor of Engineering, Information technology from Savonia University of Applied Sciences.

“No, the background and education do not matter, it is all about an interest in data and understanding dependencies, common sense, and problem-solving and decision-making skills. The rest you can learn on the job.”

Her recruits include people from various education levels and backgrounds such as engineering, business and social sciences.

"Just send me a message on LinkedIn and we´ll take it from there."


Get to know Maarit Paananen

  • Name: Maarit Paananen
  • Job title: Head of Data at Tietoevry Create
  • Loves at Tietoevry Create: Clear strategic focus with an agile way to work
  • Interests: Grilling and cooking, learning new things at work
Maarit Paananen
Head of Tietoevry Create Data Finland


Maarit Paananen

Head of Tietoevry Create Data Finland

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